LbAtlantique a Normandie prototype


Feb 14, 2011
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The old joke goes passengers on French ships in the 30s were alotted marshmellows, as the French liners had the habit of catching fire...

One victim of an inferno was the L'Atlantique.

Looking at images of her interior, at first glance one would think they were looking at the Normandie.

The L'Atlantique and Normandie must have had the same designer. Is is possible "'Atlantique was a sort of Normandie prototype? The similarities of their interiiors is amazing...

Any L'Atlantique buffs here willing to share what they know about this curiously underrated palace on the sea?

Tarn Stephanos
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Tarn- l'Atlantique was very similar to Normandie, but not a prototype. Both were conceived at roughly the same time and shared many, if not most, of the same designers, but the several years which passed between the Normandie's launch and Maiden Voyage made l'Atlantique seem more a precursor to her and not a contemporary. I found a promotional photo of what appears to be l'Atlantique entering New York Harbor which does not appear to be a cut-and-paste, and I've been trying to learn if she made at least one trans-Atlantic crossing, and if so, when. BTW, check out the films of her at the British Pathe site.
 
Jul 23, 2008
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Can anyone tell me if there are any survivors of this disaster still alive? I am writing a book for charity for the RNLI and while I have about thirty interviews already done I can not find anyone from L'Atalantique! Any help will be much appreciated.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Anthony- I am drawing a blank on the name of the book and author (read my Morro Castle posting, it has been a tough morning in that regard) but there was a French Line history published in France within the last few years (I believe the author's last name was Offrey, come to think of it) and if you cotnact the publisher and author(s) perhaps they can steer you in the right direction.

I don't know if you have taken this route yet, but l'Atlantique remained in the UK for years after the fire, while the insurance battles continued on- you can probably find a great deal of unpublished material and interview subjects relating to her post fire life, though the insurance companies and the shipyard to which her remains were towed. Just a thought.
 

Jim Kalafus

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ATLANTIQUE IN NYC: Went into New York City yesterday and today to photograph some Lusitania related sites and see the QM2 send off, more of which will be said later and on different threads. "Did Lunch" at one of my old college haunts, the Four Seasons Hotel (home, btw, of the best Iced Tea in the universe) and took some time to photograph the l'Atlantique inspired interiors. This is perhaps the best classic era liner homage anywhere, and if one finds oneself on East 57th between Park and Madison, make it a point to swing through and check the CGT architecture out. Also, try the Iced Tea, you won't regret it.

View 1:
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Mike Anderson

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Wow, very nice photos. I'll have to check the hotel out next time I visit the city. Thanks for putting them up.
 

Tom Lear

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Aug 22, 2003
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Interesting. Only saw the two or three aerial shots before. Any photos around of her after the war? 'cuz I know the wreck was still there when Europa came in to harbor. Could still be there today, for all I know.
 

Jim Kalafus

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This snapshot was taken from an album kept by a Normandie crewman. The Paris burned on April 19th 1939 and capsized on the 20th. I am guessing by the lack of a crowd, and by the lack of activity on the wreck that this was taken on the 21st or 22nd, after interest in seeing the wreck had waned but before her masts and (supposedly) her funnels were removed in order to let the Normandie leave dry dock.

Post war photos of the wreck can be found in many GI albums. What remained of the Paris was removed after the Liberte was thrown against her in a storm and foundered.
 
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Nicolas Roughol

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Given that the Paris spent some 8 years half sunk in harbor before being scrapped, how much of her interiors actually lived through her?
 

Jim Kalafus

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The fire broke out in several locations at once. In at least one of those locations, the bakery, the door was intentionally locked and the lock then damaged. One can debate endlessly whether it was Pro Nazis or Pro Communists who started the fire. The Paris was in the process of being loaded with art work intended for the French Pavillion at the New York World's Fair, usually referred to as 'art treasures" in the press accounts. I do not not know how much of this art was already onboard when the fires started, or how much was not saved. However, shoes loaded onboard as cargo in 1939 were removed from the wreck during the later war years so I assume that at least part of the cargo area survived intact. Have not seen any photos of her interiors during the scrapping process, but photos taken in 1939 and again in 1946 show intact glass in some of the lower deck portholes so it is likely that at least a few interiors remained.
 

Tom Lear

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My best guess: probably nothing. There was no advance warning of the fire that capsized her, so when she rolled over most of her furnishings were probably waterlogged and damaged beyond repair. You'd think. Maybe some chinaware and cutlery survived?

In writings on the post-war French line you see plenty of mention of salvaged furnishings from the Normandie being re-used in the Liberte and Ile de France, but no mention at all of the Paris, that I can recall.

I wonder if they managed to scrap all the wreck, or if some scraps of plating still lie on the harbor bottom, like with the Bremen?
 

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